Part 2: Real-time on Raspberry pi


As promised, here’s my Part Two blog posting regarding the raspberrry pi.

The default kernel in Raspbian Jesse, the latest release of the raspberry pi’s official OS, could use a tune-up before being fit for duty running time-sensitive machine controls. On a vanilla Linux kernel program, latencies depend on everything running on the system making consistent and punctual tasks difficult to guarantee. The RT PREEMPT patch is a popular fix for this problem. The patch converts Linux into a fully preempt-able RTOS. If you want to control physical processes with your pi, as I intend to in DISTek’s training curriculum update, this is the way to go. But how big of a difference does it make on a pi?

Part 1: Cross-compiling for Raspberry pi

Raspberry pi

Recently, I’ve been launching a little office project to develop a new training curriculum for DISTek engineers. Because it is hands-on training, it will require a toolchain. Since our customers use everything from off-the-shelf professional solutions to home-brewed ones, it’s important to prevent the nuances of a new toolchain from being a distraction in the training’s purpose of conveying good software practices and controls concepts.

Improving Contract Software Development Through Pair Programming

Pair programmers at work

Procuring software engineering services from a proven contract house has many benefits, which you already know if you’ve ever been cornered by one of their sales team members. As an engineer I know that there are always tradeoffs which must be made, and getting outside help on a project is no different. One possible way to maximize the value and effectiveness of contract software engineers is by the use of pair programming. Pair programming is an Agile software concept I was introduced to during my time working with a client, however it can be shoehorned easily into any development process. Pair programming simply means getting two engineers to sit together at the same workstation, often with two keyboards, to work together on a software solution. There are well documented benefits of increasing speed and learning while reducing mistakes and costs. In my experience, those benefits are compounded when using the services of a software contractor.